2009's already here!

Tech 1 Racing had barely enough time to celebrate its second title before it was back at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit for a 3-day test session. Despite poor weather that prevented the team from running through its full programme, it tested five new drivers in view of the 2009 season. Charles Pic was also at Paul Ricard and set the quickest time of the 3-day session.

It's almost certain that Charles Pic will be part of the 2009 Tech 1 driver line-up. The team is working hard to select its second driver to have a tandem capable of scoring a third teams' title on the trot, as well as reconquering the drivers' one.

With this in mind, several drivers relayed one another in the two Tech 1 cars. On Wednesday, under the watchful eye of Julien Jousse, Alexandre Marsoin and Albert Costa were the first to take to the track. Alexandre knew the car well having already done a full season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Renault Sport Technology invited Costa and it was his first time out in the car. Both drivers had to cope with a damp track in the morning that gradually dried out. The young Spaniard had a good session setting the fourth-quickest time.

In the afternoon, Marsoin continued his test with Tech 1 Racing while Costa handed over to Russian Anton Nebylitskiy. On Thursday, it was Nelson Panciatici's turn to get behind the wheel of the no.1 car while Pic was back in his. The following day (Friday) British F3 Champion Jamie Alguersuari got behind the wheel of the Tech 1 Racing team's World Series by Renault 3.5.

Scattered showers upset the 3-day test session creating changeable and tricky track conditions. On Friday evening in the final hour's running the times began to tumble. Pic used his experience to set the quickest lap of the session proving his motivation for next season.

"We didn't have much luck with the weather," said Simon Abadie. "We had a big development programme to run through to improve our cars. Because of the rain we weren't able to complete it. Charles set the quickest time even if his car wasn't perfect, which is very positive. All the drivers who relayed one another in our cars gave us satisfaction. We now have to analyse all the data and do everything we can to find the one who'll defend our colours with Charles. I hope we'll arrive in Valencia with our two 2009 drivers. It's important to know where we're going to prepare for next season in the best possible conditions."

So the next rendezvous on the World Series by Renault calendar is in Spain on 26-27th November for the final collective test session. There's no let-up: preparation for 2009 starts now!

Results

Wednesday morning:
4th Albert Costa 1:18.016
7th Alexandre Marsoin 1:18.392

Wednesday afternoon:
7th Alexandre Marsoin 1:16.990
18th Anton Nebylistkiy 1:18.451

Thursday morning:
2nd Charles Pic 1:16.542
16th Nelson Panciatici 1:18.067

Thursday afternoon:
7th Charles Pic 1:31.921
16th Nelson Panciatici 1:34.114

Friday morning:
4th Charles Pic 1:16.313
7th Jaime Alguersuari 1:16.664

Friday afternoon:
1st Charles Pic 1:15.998
6th Jaime Alguersuari 1:16.562

-credit: tech 1